August 1999


I'm coming to you this month via remote. It's dark, and as I type this by the light offered up from the beaming front ends of passing cars, I am reminded of stranger times. Back in the primeval age of drunken consciousness when all things seemed do-able and everything botched. All those years of near perfect disaster have come rushing back to me as I pull my sleeping bag close around my shoulders and roll down the window to get some air. There ain't nothing more glorious than residing in the back seat of a rented Ford Explorer. Especially when you consider that it's worth more than what my parents paid to build their house. But in defense of the truck, it does have four wheel drive (unlike my parent's old place). Which would have come in handy, I suppose, since Dad built the damn thing on a swamp. So I'm here with my brand-spanking-new lap top tossing around all those endless possibilities that they try to convince you still exist. Bad news, slumber party goers, no such luck.

This morning I brushed my teeth and washed up at an gas station. There was a line up. So I sat there slowly sipping a bad cup of coffee and tried to look somewhat cheerful about the entire experience. This half ass attempt was, of course, prompted by the fact that I was the only one in line that had a brand new sport utility vehicle parked ten feet away. But, to my credit, the fact that I'm a rock musician and usually look like reheated shit was working to my advantage. This made those around me feel at ease and led to numerous conversations about the ever inflating costs of Aqua Velva, shoe polish, and cooking Sherry. But that aside, it was a decent morning altogether. Cause there ain't nothing like hanging out with a bunch of guys that remember what the world was like when man had yet to walk on the moon and those in it weren't wise to the fun and games of social erosion. Lenny Cohen might characterize such down and out remnants of our beguiling past as 'beautiful losers'. And that really pisses me off. Primarily because I didn't coin the phrase and secondarily because they made me feel like I missed something so valuable that I found myself wishing I could get some dirty wings and do some falling of my own. I've done a lot of reading in my time but I'll tell you this. You can take all those easily intellectualized 'Beat Poet' collector edition hard covers and shove them up your tight little Tommy Hilfiger wearing asses. If you want some hard words then go find a soft man with nothing left to lose and buy him a bad cup of coffee.

Thus is life living nowhere in particular. To hear some of the gas station boys tell it you'd think that we were intended to roam unhindered and unhunted like the animals and the fish before the gun and the reel (and their ever expanding paranoia of being 'prized' came into affect). Maybe that's why the aboriginal peoples of this land had it so good before we introduced them to liquor and pick-pocketed their land from them like the cheap, whoring pricks that we are. I dunno. I can't rightly make that kind of a comparison when I'm whipping around in a brand new 'S.U.V'. And even though I often wonder if the Great Spirit knows my mind I would never be presumptuous enough to assume that it really gives a shit. Not anymore. Not after all this. Backseats are uncomfortable as fuck. Reading that back I have just realized that unhunted is not a real word. It damn well should be.

This evening I discovered, to my simultaneous delight and embarrassment, that the back seats fold down and allow you to use the rear cargo area for a variety of things. Sleeping is one of them. A short list of others would include: 1] small fondue get-togethers 2] nothing larger than a threesome 3] playing Mousetrap with up to three people (four if the tailgate is down) 4] spitting slurpee through a straw at people below you if you happened to be parked above some kind of public walkway (not unlike those found in Stanley Park) 5] smoking meats, fish, and other sea foods 6] using the vehicle as a hide if engaged in rifle hunting water foul 7] using the vehicle as a get away device if engaged in rifle hunting anything besides water foul 8] bullshitting thousands of people on a monthly basis via the internet. And that'd be about it.

I'm not saying that I can't comment on what life is like without a home. I'm saying that it's not my place simply due to the fact that I'll probably come by one sooner or later. But I gotta be honest with you. I've always dreamed of living in a kick ass RV. I can see it all now - Satellite, a big screen TV, bunk beds (ahhh bunk beds), and an ever expanding front and back yard. Willie Nelson's got it right. He lives in a huge motor home. And all those girls he's loved before, well, they've been inside it. But that's not to say that I wouldn't love to settle down one day and do all those things that one is expected to do around my age. You know, the big equation of life. It looks a little like this:

    M + Wf + H + S.U.V. + Dt = K + MD + C.A.O.A

Now if you're wondering what all that means then I'll be nice enough to run you through it. But only this one time. I don't want you getting the impression that I'm nice or anything. So okay, M stands for MAN or ME (substitute W for M if you're a female and stop bitching that it wasn't in there in the first place). Wf would stand for 'wife' (or husband, though you might want to change that to Hd so as not to confuse yourselves. For those girls out there that enjoy fast cars and big diamond thingies you might consider just using a $). H is for HOUSE and some cat and some mouse. S.U.V., as used earlier, stands for SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE. You'll be needing one of these simply to look the part. Minivans will also do. Dt stands for DEBT. Debt is what you get in when you accumulate the first three factors of the equation. Added together, these five factors result in the following: K is obviously for KIDS (unless you happen to have a thing for Kraftwerk and got confused for a minute). MD would symbolize MORE DEBT. This is one thing in life that most people can count on. There will always be more debt. The fact that you now have kids just makes it more and more comparable to a landslide. You'll begin to have dreams about falling off of cliffs and balconies and landing on huge spikes. It's just the way it is. And finally we come to C.A.O.A which stands for COPIUS AMOUNTS OF ADVIL. You can substitute Advil for another pain reliever if you prefer something else. And that, my little droogies, is the equation of life. You were expecting something else? Read your contract.

But I ain't so sure I'm geared up for it yet. I've always hoped to meet a woman that might plan a bank heist with me and be prepared to do the time if we got caught. After ten or twenty years we could always try it again. It's not like I haven't been to prison once already anyway. If we get away with it then we could just bum around a country with no extradition until we were forced to return and do it all over again. And I'm not talking about some hack job either. I'm talking about a skillfully planned and executed theft that may or may not include hostages, result in causing bodily harm and/or sacrificing a team member. That's the kind of woman I'm looking for. The shitty thing about it is quite simple: women like that don't exist. Not ones that would do the whole thing wearing a Budweiser bikini and a diving mask. God damn that would be sexy. A bikini, a diving mask, go-go boots, and a spear gun. Oh my.

So I figure I'll do the RV thing for a while. I doubt I'll buy, but I wouldn't mind whipping around for six months living in various camp grounds. There's nothing better than the smell of cheap coffee and bacon & eggs when you're living in the middle of nowhere. In my entire life breakfast has never smelt as good as it does when I'm camping. Not that living in a luxury RV is camping, but you know what I'm saying. Maybe I could use the RV as a mobile command center and travel around recruiting a team for the bank heist. I could even booby-trap it like Max's Charger in The Road Warrior. You know, that's why I love writing these things so damn much. It sure as hell isn't to entertain you fucks, it's because I come up with the coolest ideas next to when I'm in the shower. The problem with that, of course, is recording those ideas. I'm getting extremely tired of trying to read kids bathroom crayon off of tiled walls. You might think that's funny, but remember that the next time you listen to Apparitions or Invasion 1. And imagine SAY HELLO in huge lime green letters on a shower wall somewhere. Maybe you think I'm crackers but whatever works, works. You should know that by now. Oh yes. You should.

Anyway, that's pretty much my limit on future habitation speculation. The right here and now finds me dwelling in a sort-of-truck (I like that better than sports utility vehicle) and trying my best to eat at least one green thing a day. I've come to the realization that the lettuce on any fast food hamburger does not count as 'vegetables'. It horrifies my mother to no end. You'd think she could find something better to worry about than the fact that I'm not eating enough vegetables. My brother Chris spends one half of every year submerged under the surface of the ocean. He's a diver. You'd think the old lady could find something better to entertain her concerns. Nope. I need to eat beets. Because beets are good for you. I agree, actually. I love beets. Just not when my mom's around. The other night at dinner she decided to tell my brother that she spent all of the 1970's on valium. Of course my brother and I were both born in 71 and 72 (respectively), so it concerned him a little. You know, she's still on good form. She had him going for a good half hour before she started laughing uncontrollably. I walked into the kitchen afterwards and she started laughing again. So I said 'what made you think of valium anyway?' And she said 'I don't know, maybe it was all that valium I did'. It never stops in our family. It just keeps on going. So now I'm not entirely sure whether or not my mother spent the entire decade on valium. It seemed to me that she was kidding when she tortured my brother with it, but when she said it to me I began to think there was some truth there. But that's just my mother's superior ability. My family's known for it. It's the ability to con and confuse someone with complete crap to such an extent that they don't know if you're telling the truth anymore. The trick is to make sure there's enough truth mixed in with the bullshit that when you're spinning your web you look like you believe it yourself. That's the key to a good bullshitter. It's not the story or how it's verbally told. It's if you're face is telling the same thing as your mouth. And that's how I became such a smart ass. It's in the genes.

Everything you are came from somewhere else. Most of the time it takes people years to come to terms with the fact that a large part of their being is rooted in something undesirable. Take my family for instance. My dad's side are all asses and my mom's side are all smart. Put the two together and it's easy to see how I was afflicted with my current condition. Luckily my old man is the black sheep of his family and an exception to the 'Rule Of Goods'. He's a wise man. Next to the shopping cart guy from Uridian 5 he's the wisest man I know. Maybe the rest of them will read this someday and get all pissed off. Well, well. I'll just content myself by continuing to rent The Texas Chainsaw Massacre over and over again. But I digress. My original point being that you inherit certain things that have undesirable origins. I'm a smart ass because of an unlikely genealogical imbalance. One side of my being is firmly rooted in 'being an ass'. The other part my being just recognizes the fact that, most of the time, 'I'm being an ass'... But there's no 'I' in smart ass. It's a dualistic term. To be one you must also accept that you are the other. If you're going to be smart then you've got to deal with the fact that you're an ass as well. Sometimes you discover that you're more smart than ass. Most of the time it's the other way around. It took me a long time to realize that. I finally did. In the back of a rented sort-of-truck no less.

I'm going to talk about outer space now. I like outer space. I like it because we don't know a whole lot about it. A bullshitter's paradise. I could make up a whole load of crap about outer space right this very second and half of you would believe it. That's actually the only downside to writing these things. After I open my big fucking mouth I've got to back it up. I've been accused of bowing to some external pressures as of late but would like to make one thing crystal clear. I don't have to back anything up if I don't want to. Understand? That's the pure beauty of these things. No one told you guys to come here and read these things every month. But damn do you like to send me little messages when you're all pissed off about something I say or don't say or don't clarify. It's like being graded by a blind-deaf-mute and an Electro-shock therapist who's trying to learn Morse code. I dunno. If you've got nothing better to do you might as well come give me some. I don't mind. Whatever I can do to help.

So here's the outer space story then...

There once was a man who had a giant ship made out of cheese. It was cheddar cheese, the kind that's orange and so hard that it can cut glass. And that's exactly why his ship was made out of the stuff. Because it made him unstoppable. All the other space pilots wanted to be him and all the ladies wanted him. He was a friken legend in his own time. Until one day he came upon a huge flying toaster and learned that all things, at a specific temperature relative to their molecular composition, tend to liquefy. This principle includes very hard cheeses. So the guy with the orange cheese ship was no longer the shit. The toaster ship guy was the shit. And he was a legend in his own time. Because there's nothing tougher than a toaster ship. And all the space pilots wanted to be him and all the ladies wanted their muffins heated. And then one day another guy with a ship that shot ice beams decided to do battle with the toaster guy. So there was a huge fight and the ice ship won because every time he fired his ice beams at the toaster ship it would cloud over toaster-boys windows and he couldn't see. Evaporation and condensation can be a bitch like that. So the toaster guy wasn't defeated because the ice beams were more powerful than his toaster ship. He lost because his windows fogged over and he flew into a huge asteroid and blew up. So the ice guy became a legend in his own time and all the space pilots wanted to be him and all the ladies wanted a good rogering etc. etc. etc. Until one day some wise ass came along with a ship made completely out of Vodka and kicked the ice man's ass. But instead of becoming a legend in his own time and banging every girl at the space station he just collected up the remnants of the ice man's ship and spent eternity drinking Vodka Seven's on the rocks.

The end.

So that's it. The truck goes back to the rental place on Friday morning. And then I get on a plane and fly somewhere. Where exactly I'm not sure. It would seem that I rarely know the answer to that question anymore. And that's beginning to scare me somewhat. So if you have any idea where it is that I'm going please drop me a line and fill me in. I'd love to know the future. Even if it's just the past all dressed up to make whatever comes next look good.

Happy birthday Pop.

Your Questions. My Answers. Dial 1-900-Idiot-Savant.

Now don't get all mushy thinking I'm bringing the savant back cause I ain't. But since so many of you absolutely need to know the answers to these questions I thought it best to just get it out of the way. So here goes...

1] What does F.C. stand for?

    It stands for FOOTBALL CLUB (as in soccer). Not fucking Canadian or fucking cool.

2] a)Where can I get a copy of LO-FI-B-SIDES or b)Can you send me a copy?

    a) There were only 5000 made. If you don't have one by now then the only thing I can suggest is checking used record shops.
    b) Ya, sure, I'll be right over with it.

3] Do you respond to e-mails personally?

    Nope. But I will deliver pizza to your house within 30 minutes or it's free and you get to keep my watch.

That's it munchkins. Have fun. Stay low.